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Maple Pecan Oat Flour Shortbread Cookies

Gluten-free oat flour shortbread cookies sweetened with pure maple syrup are a healthy dessert recipe. A delicious shortbread recipe you’d never know is gluten-free!

I seem to say this a lot: This is the first time I have made this.  My approach to this blog is one of experimentation followed by relentless perfection…errrr….or something like that. 

Of course I have my inventory of Julia’s Classic Recipes that I dust off and prepare from time to time, but for the most part, I have used this food blog as encouragement to try new things.  And I love it!

The other day I was in the mood for a cookie (surprise!) that is airy and subtle in flavor with a nice bite. 

You won’t hear me say this very often regarding baked goods because (evidenced by my recent Oat Flour Brownie parade) I more often than not crave a sweet that is chocolaty, warm and gooey.

Nevertheless, this renegade desire came creeping around the corner, and all I could think about was buttery shortbread.  Whoa, are you serious?

Shortbread makes me think of the cheesy (but very-nice-of-them) Christmas packages you get from your neighbor that he/she massed produced for friends and family and shortbread is still in their holiday baking package repertoire because someone told them 15 years ago that their shortbread was phenomenal (which may or may not have been a lie), so they held on to the tradition all these years, and yup, there’s the shortbread in my basket of holiday-neighbor-gift-goodies.

Does that sound rude?  Yes, yes it does, but that is truly how I felt about shortbread until, like a freight train, the burning need for a {somewhat healthified} homemade shortbread came screaming through my peripherals. 

So I fired up the ol DuckDuckGo and DuckDuckGoed the crap out of shortbread recipes.  Here’s what I learned (by Golly, how simple these things are, I’m surprised that with my lazy nature I did not discover them sooner) they are made out of flour, sugar and butter.

Anytime an ingredient list can be spouted off in one breath with less than a handful of items, my interest is peaked.  

From what I saw, flour and butter have a 2 : 1 ratio, so I started with that same ratio using oat flour, knowing I would probably need to modify the ratio since oat flour is not the same as all-purpose flour. . . not even close.

I also wanted to use pecans as part of the base of the recipe, almost in place of some of the flour so I knew I would need to ad-lib this part a little too. 

What I ended up with is the recipe below, which made about 15 decent sized cookies, so you may want to double the recipe if you’re including shortbread in your holiday baked good give away for your neighbors next year 😉

Because I use maple syrup instead of cane sugar, and oat flour in place of all purpose, the cookies are more delicate than your run of the mill Keebler shortbread cookie.  So be prepared that you may experience a little crumble.  You can do a test round and if they are too crumbly, add more oat flour and/or chopped pecans.


If you love shortbread, be sure to check out my other shortbread recipes!!

How to Make Oat Flour Shortbread Cookies:



Preheat the oven to 325.  Make sure your butter is softened (leaving it out at room temperature for 10 minutes worked just fine for me).  If you are anything like me, you have the urge to melt the butter.  Don’t do it, I say!

Cream the butter by itself using a KitchenAid or hand mixer.  I definitely recommend using a mixer as I think I would have lost patience had I done this by hand.  Add the vanilla, maple syrup and salt.  Add half of the oat flour and mix well, then the other half, mixing until all of the clumps smooth out and you’re left with a dry looking dough.  Add the chopped pecans and mix to incorporate.

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour in an air-tight container (if you’re doing this ahead of time, you can refrigerate overnight).  After the dough has chilled, use a spoon to scoop out some dough; roll it into a ball and flatten it out.

These cookies stay in the same shape you mold them into, so you can get creative by rolling the dough out and using cookie cutters or forming shapes (I made a few hearts for Valentine’s Day).  Place cookies on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remember, I bake at elevation so you may need to adjust the oven temperature and length of time if you happen to not live in the Sierra mountains. 😉  Enjoy and let me know if you found a better flour-to-butter ratio!

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Friday 24th of February 2023

I made these cookies with pecan ‘flour’ instead of crushed pecans and coconut oil instead of butter. I also put a small piece of dark chocolate in the middle. They were delicious


Sunday 26th of February 2023

Oh how fun! It's great to know they work using pecan flour as well! Thank you for sharing!


Friday 16th of December 2022

The cookies tasted too salty. Otherwise, they would have been great. 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt is too much!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Hi Jackie! Thanks so much for the input! I made that recipe back in 2012 and hadn't tested it since then. I imagine 1.5 tsp was way too much! My apologies for the inconvenience, and thanks so much for bringing that to my attention. I fixed the recipe to call for 1/2 tsp of salt, which is what I typically use for a cookie recipe like this :)


Friday 10th of April 2020


Bill Heller

Thursday 13th of June 2019

I'm going to try these, but I wanted to ask if I use a granulated sugar substitute like stevia or erythritol, will I need to increase any liquid?


Saturday 15th of June 2019

Hi Bill! Yes, you would need to offset the loss of liquid, so you could add more butter or use avocado oil. Hope you enjoy! xo


Saturday 18th of August 2018

these are by far some of the most divine cookies ever made! they're like clouds with a velvet crunch. Minimal crumble ~ it's perfect with hand spun whipped coconut cream dashed with maple syrup and cardamom or warm spiced hot cocoa.

minor edits to a really beautiful mix ~ creamed 1 1/4 stick butter, 1/2c maple syrup, 1 tsp salt. then, added 1c oat flour, mixed ever so gently with a whisk & fingers, then added another 1c oat flour, 1/3c rice flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1 1/2c finely chopped pecans (which were pulsed in a food processor:) and mixed everything gently with whisk & fingers. Absolutely perfect dough. refrigerated overnight and baked at 325 for 20 min. Time to triple the recipe!


Monday 20th of August 2018

I'm so happy you like them, Mari! Thanks for letting me know your adaptations - I will have to try them with your changes...sounds divine! Many thanks for the feedback and sweet words! xo

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